generosity (take 2)

Today’s lesson: generosity.

December 13, 2015: 1.5 hours, 3 children, ages 6–9. Good follow-up to last week’s class. With the work on the prayer books out of the way this week, we were able to focus more closely on the lesson. After welcoming the children, we started in the usual way with prayers. They weren’t so eager to recite prayers by heart today, so we invited them read the prayer they were working on from the whiteboard. Once they were done, we worked on memorizing it. The children seemed to be having some trouble memorizing the words alone, so we had them come up with actions to go along with the words. They seemed a lot more enthusiastic once we started doing that. I often forget how powerful gestures can be as a memorization tool, since I tend to memorize things just by repeating them! In this case, it really seemed to help the children to get into the prayer and enjoy learning it by heart.

After singing the song, we moved on to learning the quote from the lesson: “To give and be generous are attributes of mine…” We had them memorize the quote using a quote jumble, as before, by hiding the words from the quote around the room and having the children collect them all and put them together in order. It’s a pretty popular activity, and they always seem to enjoy it. This week, though, the youngest child in the group wasn’t too happy that the older kids seemed to keep picking up all the hidden words before he had the chance to find any. We ended up letting him look for the remaining two or three words on his own as the older children worked on putting the rest of the words in the right order, and that seemed to satisfy everyone. It reminded me of the age gap that exists in our class, though, and of the need for us to eventually split the class into multiple grades. We’ve already talked about doing some outreach in the neighbourhood around the class in the new year; hopefully we can make some good connections with local families, bringing in new children and junior youth—and maybe another willing teacher to help out, as well?

After we were done with the quote, we sat down again to listen to the story of ‘Abdu’l-Baha visiting the shepherds, and his generosity in giving them the sheep they were guarding. Thankfully, this story is one we study carefully when we get trained up with Ruhi Book 3, so I was familiar enough with it to tell it from memory, a little differently than usual in case the older children remembered it. (I’ve had some practice making up bedtime stories for my two-year-old son lately, so it went pretty smoothly.)

cards-afterAt the end of the story, we segued neatly into the game, a card game we call Giving, which is all about sharing what we have with others who are in need. First, we got the children to think about some of the things they need the most in life. From there, we introduced the seven different “needs” highlighted in the game: clean food and water, clean clothes, safety and shelter, friends and family, education, work or occupation, and spirituality. We explained the game in relation to “Go Fish”, where players ask for cards that they need; here, players can give a card they have several of in order to receive a card they need. In the end, everyone ends up with one of each card. And we all win!

They children really seemed to love the game, so I think we can say it was a success. We would’ve played a few more times, too, but we moved on to our country presentation afterwards, all about Australia. We heard all about kangaroos and koalas, and we sampled Milo and Vegemite. Yes, Vegemite. The verdict on that one? Only three of us—me, my wife, and one of the children—were able to stomach it. I went home with the jar.

quote jumble

quote-jumbleOne way to help children to think about quotes and memorize them is to turn them into a kind of puzzle, with jumbled-up cards. For example, let’s say that the quote to be memorized is “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens”. The teacher would gather up small index cards or strips of paper, and on each of these, write one or two words of the quote. So the first card might say “The earth”, the second one, “is but”, and so on. These cards would be shuffled and presented to the children during the class; they would have to rearrange the cards in the correct order, such that they spell out the entire quote. Just like a regular jigsaw puzzle, younger children would benefit from a puzzle with fewer pieces; older children can be given a puzzle with more pieces, perhaps one for each word.

That’s only the start of it, though. There are plenty more things you can do with the cards to help the process of memorization along:

  • Ask the children to recite the quote by reading all the cards in order. Then, remove the cards one by one, each time asking them to recite the whole quote (along with the missing words). Eventually, they’ll be able to recite the whole quote even though all the words are missing.
  • Give a card to each child, and ask them to draw an object or a scene that represents the word on that card (excluding words like “the”, “a”, “and” and so forth). For example, a drawing of a globe might represent “earth”, and a group of different people circling around the globe might represent “mankind”. Words that describe concepts that are more abstract or difficult to draw can be represented by drawings of simpler, related concepts, for example, a flag for “country” and a passport for “citizens”.
  • Ask the children to close their eyes while you hide the pieces of the quote throughout the classroom. The children must then gather all the pieces and arrange them in order.
  • If you have about the same number of words in a quote as there are children in the class, you can play a ranking game based on the children’s height, age, birth date, or some other continuous quality. For example, ask the children to line up in order of the tallest to the shortest, or youngest to oldest, or the earliest birth date (e.g. Jan. 1st) to the latest (e.g. Dec. 31st). Next, distribute the cards to the children randomly, and then ask them to exchange cards until the order of the words matches the order of the line, that is: The first child in the line holds the first word, the second child in line holds the first word, and so on.


assembled quote jumble with a quote in Japanese and English

A quote jumble as used in a children’s class in Japan. (Photo: Eva S.)

tiếng việt

Chúng tôi ?ã phát tri?n các v?t li?u sau ?ây cho các l?p h?c c?a con cái c?a chúng tôi trong nh?ng n?m qua; b?n có th? tìm th?y m?t s? trong s? h? ch? h?u ích khi h? ?ang có, ho?c h? có th? giúp truy?n c?m h?ng cho b?n ?? t?o ra v?t li?u c?a riêng b?n v? các ch? ?? khác nhau.

B?n có tài li?u mà b?n mu?n chia s? v?i chúng ta và th? gi?i? Hãy liên l?c v?i chúng tôi!


Hemos desarrollado los siguientes materiales para las clases de nuestros propios hijos en los últimos años; es posible encontrar algunos de ellos útiles tal y como son, o pueden ayudarle a inspirar para crear sus propios materiales sobre diferentes temas.

¿Tiene materiales que le gustaría compartir con nosotros y el mundo? Póngase en contacto con nosotros!


Hojas de lección
Páginas para colorear
Ejercicios escritos/dibujados


Nous avons développé les matériaux suivants pour nos classes d’enfants au fil des années; peut-être vous les trouverez utiles comme tels, ou bien ils vous inspireront à créer vos propres matériaux sur des thèmes différents.

Avez-vous créé des matériaux que vous aimeriez partager avec nous et le monde? Entrez en contact avec nous!

Matériaux informatifs
Feuillets de leçon
Pages à colorier
Exercices écrits et dessinés
Mots cachés

god, our true friend (take 1)

Today’s lesson: god is our true friend.

June 22, 2013: Today was our first class on the topic of being a true friend, taken from Lesson 13 of Ruhi Book 3, Grade 2, Set 5. We attracted the younger brother of one of our students, who joined us quite enthusiastically when he heard that there were cookies in class last week. (Oh well.) We let him know that the hot chocolate was a one-time thing, and he still stayed; hopefully he wasn’t too disillusioned.

We started out by asking the children whether they could remember some of the friends they made in kindergarten. Most of them said they could. We asked them what makes someone a good friend, and we got a variety of good answers, such as spending time together, caring, kindness, and so on. We then asked whether they were still in touch with their good friends from kindergarten, and we got mixed answers. Most of the younger children were still in touch with their friends, but many of the older ones had immigrated to Canada since they were small, leaving their friends behind. When one of the younger children said he would be sad to leave friends behind, one of the older ones replied: “That’s part of life! You don’t always keep the same friends all your life.”

Taking the opportunity to segue into the day’s topic, we asked them: is there a friend that will always be with you your whole life, and beyond? They eventually came up with the answer we were looking for—God is our true friend, who will never leave our side. We moved into the memorization part of the class, presenting them with cut-up pieces of paper with the words of the quote on them: “Incline your hearts, O people of God, unto the counsels of your true, your incomparable Friend.” We challenged them to put together the quote, without having shown it to them beforehand. They enjoyed the challenge, and went at it enthusiastically, successfully putting together the whole quote on their own.

To finish off, we handed out the corresponding colouring page from Ruhi Book 3, Grade 2, using them to tell the story of how Bahá’u’lláh taught His fellow prisoners in the Siyáh-Chál to sing “God is sufficient unto me”. As is usual when we tell stories of Bahá’u’lláh’s imprisonment and exile, several children asked: How could the Sháh imprison Bahá’u’lláh even though He had done nothing wrong? We answered that lust for wealth, power and influence had blinded the eyes of the Sháh and made him fear Bahá’u’lláh rather than love Him. I wondered whether this was really a good enough answer for the children, whose tender hearts are developing such a strong love for God—we had a discussion of the concept on our Facebook page later on, which turned up a great idea for a game about the need for spiritual education.